Lately, it doesn't seem like such a good idea that American astronauts are hitching a ride to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz vehicles. Russia has lost a resupply vehicle in the past, not to mention the recent failure of the Phobos-grunt probe. Astronauts were set to go to the ISS on March 29 as part of a crew rotation aboard a Soyuz space capsule. Russian space officials were testing the Soyuz capsule that was to take astronauts on a mission by over pressuring it on the ground.
The Washington Post reports that the Soyuz spacecraft expected the ferry astronauts to the ISS in March and has ruptured at the welded seams during pressure testing. After the failure of the Soyuz capsule, the mission has been rescheduled to May 15th. The delay will prolong the mission of American astronaut Daniel Burbank and two Russian cosmonauts by 45 days.
The capsule split at the welded seams of the descent module. This is the second delay in six months in swapping out ISS crewmembers. I can't be the only one that fears the next loss of life in space exploration will be due to faulty Russian equipment. At least, this problem was discovered before the mission started.
[via Washington Post]